A Simple Guide for Talking to Your Jewish & Israeli Friends

Here are some simple Do’s and Don’ts to help you discuss the current conflict in Israel with your Israeli or Jewish friends on social media. These suggestions are tongue-in-cheek. Except they aren’t. Because most everybody I know who lives in Israel has received one or more of these types of messages and folks – this is not helping.


DO NOT:

THE HATER

Hey! I’m angry about this! Why is your A) country B) government C) army D) people committing A) genocide B) such cruelty C) racism D) apartheid?!

DO:

Hey, this is really awful, are you okay? Can you help me understand what is going on?

DO NOT:

THE OTHER HATER

OMG! Be safe! Arabs are all A) terrorists B) animals C) stupid D) all of the above! You should A) get rid of them! B) hate them! C) cheer on the world to wipe them out!

DO:

Hey, this is really awful, are you okay? Can you help me understand what is going on?

DO NOT:

THE DUBIOUS PATRONIZER

I just love and support blessed Israel so much because the messiah and Jesus and stuff and bless Israel and I’m sending you a tee-shirt and our prayer group is praying for you because my agenda (aw, poor Jews) my agenda (if they’d only listened before) my personal belief system (this is so biblical!) my agenda. LOVE YOU!

DO:

Hey, this is really awful, are you okay? Can you help me understand what is going on?

DO NOT:

THE SLACKTIVIST

Israel is totally committing human right’s abuses, dude. TOTALLY.  Oh btdubs you should totally “like” this amazing non-violence/positive thinking/rainbow/pro-peace/pro-Palestian Facebook page? Because I’m serious (pause to put down your Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino here) – if everybody just stopped and listened – this would not be happening! That’s what we did on my street in Beverwood when things got really heated about the parking permit situation. It’s like the POLICE are like Israel, right? And the people just trying to PARK are the Palestinians! It’s horrible, dude, what if YOU just wanted to PARK?! Anyway, I’m going to meditate about peace now, okay? And then I have yoga. Be safe, love you, bye!

DO:

Hey, this is really awful, are you okay? Can you help me understand what is going on?

DO NOT:

THE CENSOR

I can’t believe you just posted that picture or video of  A) rockets and sirens B) Israelis running C) Gaza suffering D) your dog. What about the OTHER SIDE, why can’t you LOOK AT THE OTHER SIDE TOO?! How can you even POST that?!

DO:

Wow. A) that must have been frightening. B) That looks terrible. C) I like your dog. Are you okay? Can you help me understand what is going on?

Suggested responses:

Thank you for asking me how I am.
I am okay.
I am not okay.
Thank you for remembering that I live here and that makes it particularly confusing and painful for me.
I know a lot about this conflict.
I don’t know enough about this conflict.
I need a blueberry popsicle and can’t really talk about this right now, okay?

Resources to Read, Suggest and Share

*Send suggested additions to this list to Julie Gray or leave a comment.

Contested Land, Contested Memory by Jo Roberts: Probably the most important book I have ever read on the topic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Highlights the need for acknowledgment of the pain and the history of each side. Thoughtfully written, thoroughly researched with copious sources.

From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas Friedman: a fantastic primer about the conflict, real politik and splinter groups of splinter groups in Lebanon, Israel and the Middle East in general. Complete with index and helpful timelines and maps.

Truth & Beauty in Wartime: FB page updated several times daily with diversity, personal accounts and credible sources.

From the Huffington Post: 7 Things to Consider Before Choosing Sides in the Middle East Conflict, by Ali Rizvi. A well reasoned and comprehensive article.

Be a Conscientious Objector in a Social Media War: An impassioned blog post from right here on Stories Without Borders about the massive and sometimes frightening influence of social media and how particularly during stressful times, we should use it wisely.

Learn more about Slacktivism and why it stinks. 

Postscript:

None of these absolutely true examples are meant to disparage anyone in particular or to intimate that the views of those outside of Israel don’t matter. They do.  You might be surprised by how an Israeli really feels about this situation (a few hints: upset. scared. defensive. confused. grieving. despairing. angry). If you truly want to have a conversation about this conflict and to learn more about it, don’t jump in with both feet and make sweeping statements or assumptions. You are entitled to your opinion but inviting a meaningful conversation of open dialogue with your friend doesn’t generally start with a sweeping statement or foggy ideals. Read up before you chime in. And if you don’t have the energy or time? Maybe just make sure your friend is okay.

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Your To Do List

לחצו פה להסבר על תרגום לעברית.

I have always been a list maker. Like you, I have a lot to do. Sometimes seemingly very disparate tasks: personal errands, family business, story editing, copy writing, essay writing, organizing a class I’m going to teach or a workshop I’m going to give, returning phone calls, getting to the post office before it closes. You know the drill.

Every time some kind of new technology seemed like a better way – any new idea, really – I tried it. Remember Palm Pilots? Tried that. It was more work to input my to-do list than to just do them. I tried using a whiteboard. A chalkboard. A fancy notebook. Various apps on my computer and iPhone.

todoNothing is or was as effective as just plain writing it down. Boring, right? But for me – effective. I use small, lined yellow tablets and importantly, I write in pencil so I can erase and rearrange my list as often as I want.

I make one list at the beginning of each week and as the list gets added onto and messier and messier, I make at least two other versions down the line.

Something that really helps me is to make sure that my list reflects my priorities for the week or for each day. There are some things, in other words, that MUST be done or else. And others that would be nice but that can be pushed back a couple or more days.

Of course, you have to watch those tasks because pretty soon they pile up too.

I make sure that the things that can be done quickly, I tick off the list right away.

It also helps to know what your personal style is, when it comes to work. I am a binge worker, meaning I might very well have a day or two in which I seem to get almost nothing done and then work for 8 hours without moving and get completely caught up. I know that about myself, so I don’t beat myself up; if something really needs to get done – I do it.

Interestingly, for me anyway, with all the apps and technology in the world, sometimes a piece of paper and pencil really is the thing.

Prioritize what you need to do daily, weekly and monthly. Use technology like alerts on your Google calendar (or the like) and mostly? Be nice to you. Your list is there to help you stay organized, not to make you feel bad. So don’t let it.

Here are more tips about how to create, maintain and vanquish your to do list!

6 Things Hollywood Can Teach Start Up Nation

Learn what another high octane business can teach Israeli start ups and entrepreneurs.

JULIE GRAY Because Your Message Matters!

We talked about the lessons that Start Up Nation has for Hollywood but it definitely works both ways.  Tinsel Town has some lessons for just about everybody, in fact. It is a great place to really practice the art of persistence.

tc

It’s not personal. Your story, your idea, ergo your pitch, your innovation, yeah it’s great? But whether or not somebody else likes it is not personal. It simply the case that being on the receiving end of new ideas gets old. Your idea is not as new as you think. Trust me on this. So – don’t take it personally.

Show me the money. Show me the money, show me the money, show me the money. This is what you are after in your meeting. Show. Me. The. Money. Nothing short of that is a deal or a promise or even a hope. Be mercenary.

Give the people what…

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Business Etiquette/כללי התנהגות עסקי

please

.לחצו פה להסבר על תרגום לעברית

A big part of doing business well is making sure that you are polite when you do.  That is obvious. But it’s more than about being polite, it is about having the best interaction you can have, right?

You want the person to call you back, to choose you, your company or your project.

There is an expression: you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. It’s an important one. Because whether you are a writer, hi tech innovator, filmmaker or consultant, you need every interaction to go well and to plant seeds for future meetings.

Don’t think of business etiquette – or for the Hebrew curious: כללי התנהגות עסקי

honeyThink simply of being as effective in every transaction as you can possibly be. You have an end goal. How does it feel when someone wants something from you? Are you more likely to grant them a favor or read their script or look at their website if they are difficult to connect with, inconsiderate or too aggressive? No.

All favors are personal, at the end of the day, because we are people. And if you are setting up a meeting, on a certain level, you are asking a favor.

Here are a few simple and basic tips:

When Setting Up a Meeting

Know that we are all very busy. Offer two or three choices of times and dates. Make the meeting place convenient for the other person.

During the Meeting

Buy your listener coffee. Thank them for their time. Make time for small talk. Keep your business talk focused. Don’t go over time. Wrap up your meeting with clear goals and expectations.

Following Up

Wait 2 to 3 hours after the meeting and send an email follow up, thanking the person for the meeting and saying you look forward to the next step.

If you don’t hear back in 4 or 5 business days, email again and just ask how they are and if there’s anything you can do to help move the project forward.

If you STILL don’t hear back:

In the US and EU: don’t email again for another 3 to 4 weeks. Assume you are being ignored but not totally shut down.

In Israel: email again in another week. And the one after that. And then let it lie for awhile.

You don’t want to be a nuisance. But neither do you want an opportunity to slip through your fingers.

Here are more tips for following up.